Jazz cruise in season opener over Oklahoma City, 107-86

Sports

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The most anticipated Utah Jazz season in decades is off to a solid start.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 22 points as the Jazz tipped off the season with a relatively easy 107-86 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night.

After starting the game 1 for 8 from the field, Donovan Mitchell heated up in the third quarter, scoring 12 of his 16 points. Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 21 rebounds as the Jazz led by as many as 23 in the second half.

“I mean it’s great to get a first ‘W’ to start a season on the right way,” said Bogdanovic, who made 10 of 17 shots from the field. “I think our defense was pretty good. Our bench, we’ve got like five guys that could be starters on most of the other teams in the NBA.”

Six different players scored in double figures for the Jazz, including Jordan Clarkson with 18 and Joe Ingles with 14.

The Jazz defense held Oklahoma City to just 37.4 percent shooting from the floor, and forced 14 turnovers. The Thunder were 7 of 35 from three-point range, while the Jazz made 14 of 47 from beyond the arc.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 18 points and Darius Bazley added 15 to lead the Thunder. Oklahoma City led only once after scoring the game’s first basket.

Utah took advantage of the Thunder’s early shooting drought and opened a double-digit lead late in the first quarter. The Jazz led by as many as 11 in the quarter, going up 27-16 on back-to-back baskets from Gobert.

Clarkson kept Oklahoma City’s defense on its heels during the second quarter. He tallied 10 points in the quarter and his floater gave Utah its biggest first-half lead at 43-24.

The Thunder whittled the deficit down to 12 by halftime but drew no closer. Utah opened the third quarter with a 12-1 run bookended by 3-pointers from Mitchell to carve out a 66-43 lead.

“I’ll bring it back to Donovan,” said head coach Quin Snydere. “He’s 1 of 8 in the first half, but he just let the game come to him. He found some stuff off the ball. Dort is a heck of a defender. There were other guys who got looks, and then all of a sudden people start playing those guys, and other opportunities present themselves.”

Mike Conley add 10 points, while Hassan Whiteside had 6 points and 10 rebounds in his Jazz debut. Rookie Jared Butler missed all five of his shots and did not score.

In his first game with the Thunder, former Jazz center Derrick Favors had 4 points, 9 rebounds, and was greeted warmly by the crowd.

The Jazz next play its first road game of the season Friday night at Sacramento.

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